Pep’s big Barca re­turn

Guardi­ola’s big­gest test is re­turn to the Camp Nou

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - BARCELONA /

Pep Guardi­ola’s for­mi­da­ble man­age­rial skills will be put to the test again when his stut­ter­ing Manch­ester City side visit his for­mer club Barcelona in a top-of-the-bill Cham­pi­ons League clash on Wed­nes­day.

For­mer Barca cap­tain Guardi­ola, the Cata­lan club’s most dec­o­rated coach with 14 tro­phies in a scin­til­lat­ing four-year spell, is set for his lat­est emo­tional re­turn to the Nou Camp.

He has been there as a visit­ing coach be­fore when his Bay­ern Mu­nich side lost 3-0 in a Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal last year and now he faces an equally daunt­ing task with City.

Guardi­ola’s bril­liant start in Eng­land which saw him over­see 10 con­sec­u­tive wins in all com­pe­ti­tions has given way to a run of three games without vic­tory, the lat­est see­ing City miss two penal­ties in a 1-1 draw at home to Ever­ton on Satur­day.

The Pre­mier League lead­ers trail Group C pace­set­ters Barca by two points fol­low­ing a thrilling 3-3 draw at Celtic in their last Cham­pi­ons League out­ing but Guardi­ola said he would not set­tle for an­other draw against his for­mer club.

“We have four games left and we need to win two of them, make six points, to be in the next round.

“And we are go­ing to try to win the first points in our next game for sure,” Guardi­ola said on Satur­day.

The Cata­lans are un­beaten at the Nou Camp in the Cham­pi­ons League since 2013 but at­tack­ing ide­alogue Guardi­ola said his team would not stray from their usual style of play.

“We are go­ing to play like we are. I know the way we want to play but, of course, we have to know ex­actly against which team we’re go­ing to play. Not too many teams win there in re­cent years,” he added.

Barcelona are fourth in La Liga and cruised to a 4-0 vic­tory over De­portivo La Coruna on Satur­day, with sub­sti­tute Lionel Messi scor­ing on his re­turn from a groin in­jury that had kept him out for over three weeks.

“He will be dif­fi­cult to stop, I know that from ex­pe­ri­ence,” said City striker Sergio Aguero, Messi’s in­ter­na­tional team­mate with Ar­gentina.

“All we can hope is that he has a bad day and our de­fence plays the game of its life. It’s that dif­fi­cult be­cause Leo is the best in the world.”

Barca coach Luis En­rique has also been boosted by the re­turn of full­backs Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.